Future travel inspiration: the unspoiled Spanish island of La Palma


The recent outbreak of COVID-19 has certainly had a profound impact on the travel industry in a way that has never been experienced before.  With travel professionals seeing a sudden downturn in people exploring the world, now is perhaps a time to re-evaluate what travellers may be looking to experience when holidays can, once again, be placed on people’s agendas. With individuals and families having to spend so much time confined to their homes, getting back to nature will be a welcome opportunity to see somewhere new when travel becomes safe for everyone.

One such year-round destination would be the Spanish island of La Pama in the Canary Islands.  The northernmost of the islands, La Palma has been declared as a World
Biosphere and Starlight Reserve.  The island’s nickname is la isla bonita – the pretty island – and is certainly justified once you see its …

·         Outstanding natural beauty
·         Fantastic hiking paths
·         Unique starry skies
·         Black sand beaches and small coves
·         Wonderful traditional cuisine and wines

La Palma in the Canary Islands

What can you expect whilst you are there?  We’ve put together just a few of the highlights you can experience whilst on you La Palma holiday.

Hiking network

Take full advantage of the huge network of walking routes (Senderos) available on this hikers paradise island.

Hiking Trails on the island of La Palma

With hiking being one of the major attractions for tourists to the island, the 1,000km (approximately) of footpaths that have been fully signposted by the European Ramblers Association. You will find trails leading to every corner, enabling you to take in the huge variety of Canary pine trees, laurel forests, and coastlines. As an example, there are two long distance routes (GR routes), 20 one-day routes (PR routes), and numerous local routes that are shorter than 10km (SL routes). In fact, there are trails to suit all levels of fitness, from the beginner to the more experienced.

Hiking Network in La Palma

Probably the most famous is the Ruta de los Volcanes which is a tough 6 hour hike along an active volcanic ridge ending at the coast at Faro de Fuencaliente.

Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos

With some of the clearest skies in the northern hemisphere, the island of La Palma has strict laws to protect it against light pollution. This is why La Palma is home to one of the largest single optical telescopes in the world – the 10 meter Great Canarian Telescope.  This is located in the Observatory at the Roque de los Muchachos on the highest point of the island. The Observatory can be visited every day but bear in mind that you can only enter the Observatory itself on two days in July and August.

Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos in La Palma

Mirador de la Cumbrecita

Take time out to visit this Mirador (viewpoint) to experience the wonderful views from the southern ridge of the Taburiente crater which is approximately 6.5 km wide.  This is also the starting point for many hiking trails.

Cumbrecita in La Palma

Caldera de Taburiente

This is La Palma’s national park, one of the most popular places for people to visit, and certainly not to be missed.  The best part is possibly the Barranco de las Angustias which is an 8km long, horseshoe shaped area, with stunning scenery including deep ravines, cascading waterfalls, rock carvings, jagged cliffs, and archaeological sites left by the original inhabitants of the island.

Waterfall in Caldera de Taburienta, La Palma

Beaches and natural pools

There are many black sand beaches around the island that are safe for swimming, and ideal for sunbathing. You can also experience swimming in one of the natural seawater pools.

Beach in Santa Cruz de La Palma

The pools are natural formations where the sea water enters without human intervention.  You will find steps to enable access, and a wonderful way of swimming in the sea water whilst being protected from any currents or waves. If you’re not sure when you want to travel again, don’t be too concerned as during both the winter and summer months you are able to take a dip in the sea due to the excellent year-round temperatures.  Be aware though as the Atlantic Ocean can have currents and waves, so be sure you are swimming with safety in mind.

Architecture

Walking around La Palma, you will see different types of architecture. From its churches, central courtyards, and wooden balconies, you’ll feel the history surrounding you.  If you’re in the capital of the island – Santa Cruz – take a walk along Calle Real.  Here you’ll find a cobbled street and some traditional wooden balconied houses. An ideal location for a picture-perfect Instagram snap.

Wooden balcony houses in La Palma

Cigar Making

One of La Palma’s traditional crafts is the art of cigar. Palmeran cigars are famous for their quality and aroma. Cigar making was introduced to the island in the 1950s and the pick of the crops are harvested in various regions around the island.

Visit the Museo del Puro (cigar museum) where you can watch the skilful art for yourself and even ask questions of the artesans. You’ll learn more about this art, from cultivation through to the end product. Signage and videos are in English, Spanish and German and with the entry of approximately 3 euros per person, this makes a great day out. Visit the museum Tuesday – Saturday between the hours of 10:00-13:00.

Cigars from La Palma

Stay for a while and visit the restaurant located next door – a place visited by the locals as well.  You can also wander the market stalls at weekends selling fruit, vegetable and local produce including cheeses, prickly pears, fresh sugar cane and of course La Palma bananas.

Local wines

Probably the best known winery is Teneguia Winery (Bodegas Teneguia). This winery has been making wines for over 60 years including white, rose and red.  Located in the south of the island of La Palma, in Fuencaliente, the grapes are harvested from the organic soil.  You can visit here and take a guided tour of the winery to learn more about wine production, vine growing, and bottling. End your visit with a meal in the restaurant and in the shop where you may want to purchase a bottle of local wine.

La Palma wine

At the moment, travelling will of course be the last thought on your mind and you unfortunately need to be content at being an armchair traveller.  However, once the COVID-19 outbreak comes to an end and travel restrictions are lifted, perhaps you can travel with us to the unspoiled island of La Palma.  We trust you all take care during these difficult times.

Gail Hewitt is Owner and Director of Corona Holidays. Corona Holidays are specialists in tailor-made holidays to the Canary Islands, Balearic Islands, and European city breaks.

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Comments (8)

  1. Margaret Fletcher says:

    It’s brilliant there are dedicated paths drawn up for hiking, such a good idea. Not sure I’d be brave enough to do 6 hours along an active volcano but I’m sure it would make for an interesting experience. Interesting to learn about the Great Canarian Telescope. Hadn’t heard of that before. While a lot of pressure has been put on countries to reduce air pollution and other environmental waste like plastic, less importance seems to have been placed on light pollution. I love beaches but rarely have I bought myself to do much more than paddle so being able to go in a sea water pool and feel safer and more enclosed is brilliant.

    Being an armchair traveller isn’t too bad. It brightens the otherwise dark days at the moment and gives us something to plan for in the future :)

    • Gail Hewitt says:

      Thank you Margaret. Yes, 6 hours does seem a bit extreme and the paths can sometimes be a bit damp as they are under the cover of ferns and palms. I think many people may be doing some armchair travelling over the next few months – gives us all an excuse to escape without leaving our homes.

  2. Dan says:

    This looks like a beautiful place to be right now. I could really use some decent hiking and peaceful moments outside in nature. Cigars and wine? Count me in for that as well.

    • Gail Hewitt says:

      Certainly does Dan. We have a gentleman based in La Palma and even pictures of their sunny days and scenery are uplifting. The honey rum (ron miel) from the Canaries is a treat as well.

  3. Sally Arnold says:

    We love the Canaries but we’ve never been to La Palma. The great thing about the Canaries is that although it’s only a 4 or 5 hour flight from the U.K. you feel that you are somewhere very different. As far as I know you don’t get cigar making in Devon or Cornwall.

    • Gail Hewitt says:

      Beautiful year-round sunshine is almost guaranteed in The Canaries (although every destination has exceptions to the rule as you’ve undoubtedly witnessed Sally). The islands of La Palma and El Hierro are the greenest with La Palma being the easiest of the two to get to from the UK. The 4.5 hour flight goes pretty quickly and there’s a resort to suit everyone on each island.

  4. Ivan Bell says:

    I understand the German airline Condor has announced that they’re resuming flights to La Palma and a number of destinations from 25th June onwards. Are other airlines doing the same?

    • Gail Hewitt says:

      From the UK, TUI are currently offering weekly flights from the 18 June direct to La Palma from Manchester or London Gatwick. EasyJet only fly there over the winter season. Please bear in mind the quarantine/self-isolation rules either currently in place, or any due to be introduced at both ends. More information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain/staying-during-coronavirus and then the link to the entry requirements as well. TUI and Easyjet are the only airlines to offer direct flights to La Palma. It is possible to fly into several other islands and then an internal flight via Binter Canarias over to La Palma.

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